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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Essay on Police Corruption

Police subculture consists of the occupational culture that is shared among the police officers.  It is the subculture that shapes the attitude among many police officers which makes them cynical, isolated, defensive, alienated, distrustful, dogmatic and authoritarian.  This sub-culture, however, conflicts with the culture that the police department seeks to portray to the public. Oftentimes, it is the police subculture that is being blamed for the various transgressions of police officers (Christopher Cooper, 2000, p.1).

However, there are some changes in today’s society that cause many people to think that the police subculture is starting to break down.  One of the reasons for this is the increasing diversity in many police force (Joycelyn M. Pollock, 2010, p. 196).  In the past, the police force is mainly homogenous because of the implicitly policy in many police departments to hire only male or applicants coming from a particular race.  However, nowadays, the police departments are very diverse.  In view of the fact that police departments have opened up to different applicants, it is now common to see women police officers, Hispanic police officers, Asian police officers and African-American police officers.  These police officers bring to the police department new attitudes, beliefs and motivations helping pave the way to a more culturally diverse police force.

Moreover, in the past, it has become part of police subculture to cover each other up.  Because of the kind of training police officers receive before they become full-pledged police officers, they oftentimes see each others as brothers whom they need to protect at all time.  This attitude has led to many police officers covering for each other’s mistakes or violations of law.  However, nowadays, police departments no longer tolerate abuse by many police officers (Joycelyn M. Pollock, 2010, p. 196).   There is now a policy that it is not only the person who is responsible for violation that may be punished but even the police officers who had knowledge of the violation but failed to report the same to the officers.

These two factors – the increasing diversity and the strict policy – are the primary reasons why many people think that the police subculture is starting to break down.

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The United States is not the only country that is experiencing a problem with police corruption.  Police corruption is common even in other countries.  According to Guardian News Media, in the last 24 months alone at least 12 police officers have received prison terms or have been left facing jail for corruption (Sandra Lavine, 2010, p.1).  A number of internal investigations and criminal cases are also waiting to be heard involving police officers in UK.      Among the violations of these police officers are passing confidential information to criminals, running property scams, stealing property, brutality, having sex with women whom they have arrested, blackmailing individuals on the police intelligence database, shielding a drugs baron and tipping off an organized criminal to help him stay one step ahead of the law (Sandra Lavine, 2010, p.1).

Based on the investigation, it was found out that there are a number of weak points that expose the police officers to criminal elements.  The first is the social networking sites were police officers reveal their identity and the nature of their work.  The second is the bodybuilding gyms where police officers get access to drugs like steroids from the criminal elements.  The third is the increased access by the police officers to confidential information in IT systems which they use for their own financial gain.

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